All non-essential retailers in Wales will be made to shut up shop from Christmas Eve under new measures to be put in place across the country in the latest coronavirus restrictions review. Wales will then go into a full lockdown with Tier 4 restrictions for three weeks from December 28th.
The news was delivered by the First Minister, Mark Drakeford who told the Welsh Government briefing that the new lockdown would last for an initial three weeks.
“I can’t offer you a prediction of how long this will last. It will last for three weeks in the first instance,” he said.
It arrives as the Welsh Labour leader declared a ‘sustained rise in coronavirus’ that meant the country would have to move to the highest level of restrictions.
Some of those measures will come into force on Christmas Eve with all non-essential retail, including close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres forced to close from the end of the day. The move puts the stoppers on retailers looking to cash in on Boxing Day sales.
The rise in cases forced the Government to limit meetings to only two households over the Christmas period.
All hospitality premises will also close from 6pm on Christmas Day.
Drakeford added: “I said earlier there was small grounds for optimism given what we saw in the firebreak period and we begin to see the impact upon our health service within 10 days on measures being taken.
“We will need to track that carefully, see where it gets us and review at the end of the three weeks and see whether it is possible to alleviate any of the measures on a regional or a national basis.”
Details of a four-tier traffic light lockdown system were announced at the Welsh government coronavirus briefing on December 11.
The new alert system comes into force after the five-day Christmas easing of Covid restrictions ends on December 27.
“The plan sets out four alert levels. We are at alert level three. The traffic light is red. The level of risk is very high,” Drakeford said. A full coronavirus control plan was published on December 15.
According to the Telegraph, the country reached 1,900 Covid-related hospital admissions for the first time during the pandemic on December 11. The First Minister expressed growing concern that cases could surpass 2,500 by Christmas Day if the current rate continued.
Until the new alert system begins, a ban on alcohol is in place in hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants and pubs. These venues must also close at 6pm – but may continue takeaways – and cinemas, skating rinks and museums have shut completely.